Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pinar del Rio Habano Sun Grown robusto (5" x 50)

I picked up a few five packs of these from after I had heard some good things about them. One reviewer hinted that they were a "poor man's Oliva V" so I had to get some. After having four or so I am ready to review!

Here is what one vendor has to say about the Pinar del Rio Sun Grown

Pinar Del Río Habano Sun-Grown cigars showcase a blend of extra-long-aged Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos with a lush, oily, Dominican-grown Habano leaf - like the deep, red-brown wrappers grown in Pinar Del Río, Cuba - that laces the palate with rich flavor.Cigar Press wrote: "Medium to full in body and rich, creamy aroma, with a lot of spice in the nose. Complex. Excellent smoking cigar." Discover these outstanding premium cigars created by Abe Flores and Juan Rodriguez today

Upon lighting this guy I realized that I really do like these cigars-though they can be a little flakey on the flavor and the burn. I attribute some of this on the cold weather of Fall-two I had were really perfect and the third (smoked at 5:00. a.m. with Family in the cold October morning) was a bit bitter. The one I smoked for this review was bittter at first and I realized that I needed to slow my draws down-made a world of a difference. I've found that most non maduro cigars I've smoked in the cold (or when going from one temperature to another) tend to suffer from flavor or burn issues-can't really blame the Pinar, right?

After about ten minutes of smoking, the Pinar burn corrected and I did not feel like I was smoking some kind of leprous exploding cigar. I keep thinking "this is like a diet Oliva V" and I think that can be a good thing-though at several points I started craving that extra body that the V brings to the table. 

The flavor is kinda nutty with a creamy element and that semi-tart flavor that I associate with sun grown smokes. I'd say it is a medium flavor and body smoke-a really nice break from the full growns I've been enjoying the most for the last year or so. The triple bands are nice too and the cloth band at the tip makes these cigars stand out on the shelf.

I think I paid $2 or $3 for these on sale and at that price, they are a good deal. I think they run around $6 at the cigar store.  I'd rate this stogie a 2 on my four point scale-a good and enjoyable smoke. The one bitter one and the apparent sensitivity to environmental factors keep it from earning a 3. I'd pick one up on sale again, without hesitation.

Here's a bonus pic of me smoking the Pinar. It's kind of a bad photo but in the shadows  I'm kind of mysterious so here you go!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CAO Brazilia (Chango) 6.5" x 50

Here is what a vendor has to say about the CAO Brazilia

The Brazilia is the fuller-bodied side of CAO.  Its dark and spicy wrapper make it very flavorful with a long earthy finish.

For years CAO dreamt of a cigar that uses premium Brazilian tobacco, but finding good Brazilian leaf at the end of the cigar boom was not an easy task. At the time Brazilian tobacco was not at the top of its game. However, CAO stumbled on a beautiful dark wrapper leaf from the coveted Bahia region and the rest is history. After its launch this cigar brought attention back to Brazilian tobacco and essentially was the rebirth of Brazilian cigars in the US cigar market, as other cigar makers flocked to South America in attempt to recreate CAO’s success. The rich Brazilian wrapper gives the CAO Brazilia a full-bodied and full-flavored aroma that carries a long and spicy finish. It is a truly unforgettable cigar, and a powerhouse addition to the humidor.

CAO reminds me of a kid I went to school with. He talked a lot of b.s. and he always had a look on his face-irrespective of the fact that he had little to be proud of-like he'd just whupped Jack Bauer's butt and was taking his daughter to the drive-in. Just like this kid, I occasionally decide to "hang out" with a CAO cigar and every darn time, when it's through, why I didn't remember the last time. This time I'm going to do a review-perhaps this text will remind me so I don't walk down that road again in a year.

Let me start out by saying that I really wanted to like this cigar. The green and yellow tubo was attractive and the idea of a Brazilian maduro smoke really appealed to me. But when I pulled the stogie out of the tube I felt a somewhat dry stick with a mottled wrapper that smelled only of really strong cedar. Cedar is NOT my favorite cigar flavor. Where is the rich maduro aroma? Not here.

The light did not improve things. The smoke was full but the flavor was charry. After a few puffs I detected a little bit of a nutty flavor. After a few puffs, the Chango increased in flavor, kind of a mix of cedar, char, and some kind of full and mellow espresso with a little sweetness. The aroma improved as well, kind of a mellow sweetness.

Overall this smoke is remarkable for the marketing and its white ash, its good construction, and its layered flavors which provide a rich experience overall. It reminded me very much of some kind of rich dessert and was surprisingly good overall. I rate the Chango a "3" on my 4 point rating scale and am pleasantly surprised that I found a CAO that didn't let me down!

Here are two bonus pics-Michelle enjoying the Fall morning with me while I smoke the Brazilia and read The Passage...

...and here are three of the "Reid Boys" enjoying some fishing at the Reid pond! Notice the authentic props (Reid casa, Reid "Old Red truck", rotting log where Ry was scared silly by a dead snake...